Writers on Writing #5: Laura Mead
There's No "I" in Advice, and Other Contradictory Credos about Writing, in 10 Chapters
CHAPTER 1: What is writing? Like a windowpane or holding your breath underwater. Nothing more than a guided dream. Simply thinking through your fingers. An act of faith. The supreme solace. Hard work and bad for the health. A dreadful labor, yet not so dreadful as idleness. A dog’s life, but the only life worth living. A hellish task, best Snuck up on, Whacked on the head, Robbed, and left for Dead.
A word is dead When it is said Some say.
I say it just begins to love that day.
CHAPTER 2: Tips for Successful Writing Get up in the morning, torture a typewriter until it screams, then stop. Find the key emotion. Observe, don't imitate. Put weather in. Write drunk Edit sober. If you would not be forgotten, As soon as you are dead and rotten Either write things worth reading, Or do things worth writing.
CHAPTER 3: The Genres A poem begins as a lump in the throat a sense of wrong a homesickness a lovesickness.
Fiction is about stuff that’s screwed up. Time travel, robots, intelligent life on other planets…. If science fiction is the mythology of modern technology, then its myth is tragic.
There is no longer any such thing as fiction or nonfiction; there's only narrative.
CHAPTER 4: The Life of a Writer
- Coleridge was a drug addict.
- Poe was an alcoholic.
- Marlowe was killed by a man whom he was treacherously trying to stab.
- Pope took money to keep a woman's name out of a satire then wrote a piece so that she could still be recognized anyhow.
- Chatterton killed himself.
- Byron was accused of incest.
- Do you still want to a writer--and if so, why?
CHAPTER 5: Accepting Criticism Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger.
CHAPTERS 6: Publication Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing. Having been unpopular in high school is not just cause for book publication. Never throw up on an editor.
CHAPTER 7: Writing for Money Nobody but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.
CHAPTER 8: Uplifting Sentiments Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself. It’s a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it. If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.
CHAPTER 9: The Power of Words Grand. There's a word I really hate. It's a phoney. I could puke every time I hear it.
CHAPTER 10: Miscellaneous Pornography is a very rich medium. Study it closely and you can learn quite a lot as a writer from it.